Having the bees taken out other day and lining up work, yesterday the odd bathroom outside on the deck was removed. I hired a local guy that has been doing construction here for years and I helped him. It is one of those things that we have wanted to do since we practically bought the property.
The cabana is mostly finished, so it was time to get started on some of the projects for the wood house. We still aren’t exactly sure what we are going to do with the wood house, but even if we tear it down, the bathroom would have to be removed, so it was a good project that we started to refer to as the little wood house project.
Working with wood is familiar to us as everything we have done in Colorado construction/remodeling wise has been made of wood. Stick built. The difference here is the climate. Colorado is dry, super dry. So moisture isn’t an issue and nor are termites. Wood absorbs moisture and even if it is just sitting at the lumber yard here in Puerto Rico, it already has a lot more water in it than in Colorado.
One of the things I have learned about wood in the tropics however, is that it does last if you do it right. Doing it right means to keep it out of the rain, and make sure it’s treated. The wood under the house looks practically brand new as do the studs that have been kept dry. It isn’t as if wood will simply disintegrate after a few years. The wood house on our property has been standing for 20 years and left without ANY maintenance for the last 15 and it’s still here and in remarkably good shape.
This is why we are still undecided about the path we are going to take with the wood house.
Removing the bathroom has been a good small project as it shows me more of what to expect inside the walls of the house. The bathroom had been left totally open and there were bees, bats, a rat and cockroaches living in it. The wall studs however were in great shape and the nails holding it together were as strong as ever. In other words, its bones were fine.
Shoots and Ladders
The wood house will require us to open up every wall to clean and get all the jungle creatures out. Luckily the house isn’t too big. We want to put glass windows in, every surface will require refinishing and painting. It is going to require quite a bit of work and money, but so does taking it down and starting from scratch. We are trying to visualize the end goal to help us decide. We have even thought about building new and using the wood for new cabanas.
We figure we aren’t in a hurry and since we aren’t sure which way we want to go, we will take more time to make a decision. Getting the bathroom down is also still a work in progress as the deck under it needs to come down and all the wood it was made of turned into a chicken coop.
Any other points we should take into consideration when making this decision? We have heard there are no permits required for a remodel but that if we were to build from scratch just the engineer alone would cost $4000-$5000 which would go a long way on the existing house. Hmmm. Lots to decide.